On Monday 1 June, paramilitaries killed two peasant farmers in separate attacks in southern Córdoba. Communities in the region continue to face high levels of human rights violations due to the presence of various armed groups competing to control illegal economies.
Both victims were founding members of the Peasant Farmer Association of Southern Córdoba (ASCSUCOR). In the first case, Arcángel Pantoja was taken from his home and subsequently killed. That same day, Omar Agudelo was also murdered after being abducted from his home. In a statement denouncing the killings, ASCSUCOR said that after the killings rival armed groups engaged in combat, affecting several houses in the Juan José zone.
ASCSUCOR also said it held President Iván Duque’s government responsible for the attacks, saying that it was the state’s duty to protect citizens’ human rights. ‘[The government’s] main legal duty is to prevent violations of these rights and take the necessary measures to investigate, identify, put on trial and convict those responsible,’ said the statement.
The first five months of 2020 were the most violent period in terms of murders of social activists since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016. According to the human rights organisation INDEPAZ, 117 such killings were committed between 1 January and 31 May.